I can't believe I have literally never brought this topic up on Think Atheist before and I think its worth looking at. 

There is a notion (arguably an assumption) that we on Think Atheist and all atheist themed forums a like, spend our time agreeing with everything we have to discuss and say on our forum. 

I've often suggested that members on Yahoo Answers check us out as a debating space. Many have suspected that the forum might be a bit biased and have even said "Well it sounds like a good idea, but whats the point with debating with a bunch of people who are going to agree with me anyway?"

What do you think people? Are we just a community of yes men (and yes women)? Or better yet, what do we as an online community disagree with exactly? I know that I myself have posted some arguably unpopular views that not everyone would side with. But how do the rest of you feel about this?

You might find each others lack of faith quite agreeable, but what about the other issues? 

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The only commonality of this forum is our member's lack of belief in the existence of god(s), although we welcome deists and theists to participate. Politically some of us are more conservative on issues, like gun ownership/control for instance.  Others have issues with the militant 'in your face' atheists. We are a diverse lot and it makes for more engaging conversation. I believe many TA members would grow bored if we were continually agreeable. Food for thought without spice is rather bland.

"Food for thought without spice is rather bland."

I like that, well said. I think the comparison between militant and more moderate or agnostic atheists (such as myself) is a very important point to be made

  1. 1.
    combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favoring extreme, violent, or confrontational methods.
    ...with the emphasis on being confrontational in the case of atheists who aggressively challenge theist's claims....

Surely we have more examples of 'militant' atheists.

I remember a seminar I sat in on once early 80's, given by the local Seventh Day Adventists. The primary point of the seminar was "revelations'. During this they listed a few folks, or them that were considered 'militant' atheists, which included Voltarie, what a pussy cat...   

It is important. Agnostic atheists aren't making a claim; thats the difference and that is very important. 

But I'd rather not get into that debate again here, the issue was touched in my "Intellectual Snobbery" discussion 

I'm an agnostic atheist and I make the claim that God doesn't exist (the atheist part), but I keep my mind open in case anyone has evidence or proof otherwise (the agnostic part).

There is a notion (arguably an assumption) that we on Think Atheist and all atheist themed forums a like, spend our time agreeing with everything we have to discuss and say on our forum. 

Whoever makes this claim has clearly never seen a thread with both Unseen and Archie commenting.

If this website were a book, they had judged it by its cover (or rather title in this case)

The problem is that most Theists have a very poor understanding of what Atheism is. However they are the ones that all fall silent when a bell rings. They must agree with each other on matters of faith or else a schism happens and they form a new cult with new beliefs…that they all agree upon. They base their philosophy of life upon these strictly defined beliefs. So they become the ultimate yes-men. This leaves them with a very simple view of the world based on the “goddidit” principle. Everything they believe is fixed upon a foundation that is imaginary (a myth, a delusion).

Theists will of course disagree with this. When they debate what I just claimed is a delusion they will be compelled to dismiss it. They will all agree that I am wrong because they cannot think freely enough to understand what I am saying. They would have to suspend their belief system for long enough to challenge my statement on an intellectual level (i.e. think critically). That would start a drip feed of Doubt which could soon swamp them. They have all been prepped to see doubt as a temptation by the devil or something “bad” that must be prayed away immediately. So they retreat from the debate by playing the faith card and claiming victory.

They will recount this tale of “take that atheist” to their peers who will all agree with them. The room with rock to the sound of “praise be Jesus” and they will soon be on the knees reciting the same prayers to the same imaginary god. They will still think they are all different and hold different beliefs but that is only because they have no concept of what confirmation bias is. They will all seem different to each other because none of them are really part of a religion. No, they all just have a personal relationship with their own subjective version of Jesus.

You might like to read some of the debates on their websites just to see how they do it. Try this one for starters and see if it stimulates your mind….lol.

What I like most about this site is that nobody will hold back if they disagree with me. I want my ideas to be kicked apart. I am here to learn, to challenge and to be challenged. From what I can make out so is almost everyone else. We understand the difference between attacking a belief and ad hominem attacks on the person. We don’t need blasphemy laws to protect them from scrutiny.

I tend to consider this question in another way.

Imagine a Venn Diagram. The catagories of Truth, Knowledge, & Belief could be represented as three interlocking circles. For an Atheist, our primary tensions might be between Knowledge and Belief, with aspirations toward Truth. I expect that for a Theist, this could be similar. The primary difference between an Atheist(abstract/ideal) and a Theist(abstract/ideal) would be that our concept of Knowledge is an open one, while for a Theist it is closed for the most part with an underlying assumption that they have arived at the Truth of things. 

Since a Theist has 'arived', why look any further, why ask any more questions, and surely 'all' should come to their 'grand system of everything'.

An Atheist looking back into that Theist model, might only see the Theist in a self-lie, claiming 'perfect knowledge/truth' prematurely, and allowing inferior 'Belief' to inform their cognition.

For a Theist looking into the Atheist model, they might see a muddle of un-informed or unenlightened ignorance, since for the Theist, they Know what is 'TRUE', even before they have truely explored the 'whole of things'.

As an Atheist, I consider Theism as the graveyard of conscience, not the 'moment of birth' of conscience.

In my experience, I see something indicating that conscience is still alive within Theists, but they seem to arive there by the deep humanity we all carry with us, that can stand outside of ideology. Sadly this can die within each of us if our beliefs merge with power and cruelity.

Yes and no. We tend to approach things using skepticism and do share a significant aspect of our worldview. However, we have a diversity of personalities here, each with unique life expereinces. There are times when a TA member writes in a way that they seem to be reading my mind but there are also times when I am baffled, even horrified by another user's ideas. Yes, we can come to a consensus on some issues--and it does come off a bit like group think if we're all really passionate--but that's certainly not always the case.  We're united on some fronts but we'll never agree on everything. Isn't that true for most communities? 

I've never, ever thought that Atheists all believed the same thing.  Isn't that obvious?

What we have in common is a lack from belief in a deity, but there is so much more to life than just what one believes about a deity.


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